So you need to do some creative writing. Or maybe make your essays more concise and improve you summaries. Or improve flow when typing up essays or writing exams. How do you train yourself up on these things when you find them difficult? Its hard to train your Creative Writing skills (although we do offer a 301 Workshop) and inspire the idea of a writing ‘flow’ when its just something which comes from you as an individual.
So it must be improved upon with indivual training, young writing Padawan. How can you do this? Well, there are two apps at hand to help you tackle these issues. And I, your humble servant, have reviewed them both to see what can best benefit you, depending on what writing improvements you are looking for.
Select a word count to write to. Press go. You will then write. Only catch is, you can’t tell what you have already written, only the letter you have just typed. No backspacing either. The end product will include all of your spelling mistakes. Designed to make your writing more concise; you think more about what you should write next considering you can’t delete it, and also because you are trying to remember what you have already written. It could also maybe be used as a tool to improve spelling by forcing people to think about how to spell words.
It does perform quite well for the reasons given above. In a time when it is so easy to backspace any errors and lose your train of thought because you can always come back to an electronic piece of work, this is something more old school and traditional.
One of my lecturers often said that we should write out our essay drafts, despite being word documents only. This is because you think more critically about what you are writing, going off the previous trail of thought rather than easily being able to come back to it later. Having to actually write something out means that you aren’t going to waffle for the sake of it.
I think a similar thing can be said for this app. You’re obviously going to make mistakes when writing it. You might be at a loss of words and write a rubbish sentence which doesn’t flow with what you are trying to get at/what you want to say. You’re working to a set word count, it isn’t something you can come back to and delete later.
But this encourages a further attempt in which you disregard that information. You may wonder the point of this. Why not simply type it in an editable word document? But with editing, leave in unnecessary stuff as an oversight, when those words could be better used in regards to your stronger argument/sentences. Remember my lecturer.
Sometimes it is better to start again from scratch. With fresh eyes, you argument will be more concise, and will follow a more consistent flow. This app would be great for argument based subjects like history and philosophy where word counts and clear concise arguments are key factors.
However I wouldn’t recommend it so much for creative writing. With a set word count limit, and not being able to see what you have typed before, I imagine that it would stall creativity by being restricted within word counts rather than having free reign. True creativity and imagination requires freedom, right?
I personally don’t like the fact that I am forced to live with my spelling mistakes. While you can copy and paste what you have written once you are finished and edit it afterwards, I feel like a lot of people (myself included) would be annoyed or put off their writing flow knowing that they have made a spelling mistake and cannot correct it. This is especially annoying if you misspelt something simply due to mistyping.
Also, a bug I have found is that if you were spelling a word with two of the same letter consecutively i.e. (‘tt’ in ‘letter’) it doesn’t actually acknowledge the fact that you have written two letters as the word count doesn’t change and there’s no visual change either. It will have acknowledged all the letters you have inputted at the end, but again, it distracts (at least my own) flow when writing.
Overall, I think this would be a good application to use if you feel you need to be more concise with your work or summarise more. It might also be useful to use when typing up a draft to think how your points link together. However, in terms of spurring creative writing, I think that the next app would be a far better choice.
The Most Dangerous Writing App
So you want something which can inspire a flow, or at least make you a better writer. Well maybe this app will make you enjoy or make your writing better as much as it does for SpongeBob.
You write. But there’s a catch. Make sure you know what you’re going to write next, because if you dont, then everything you write will disappear off screen within 5 seconds or so.
You have to know where your idea or story is going next. Being on the spot while typing sends your writing mind into overdrive. What is also good is that this time you can actually see what you are writing (until it disappears). This means you can glimpse to see if your sentences make sense and what would be a better use of your words. Useful for creative writing, this would also be a good way to see if your arguments make sense and connect. In this way you could use it to narrow down your word counts as well.
Obviously you can’t use it to write your full essay on, but it terms of storyboarding or working something out this is a great tool. The only problem I see with this is that if you press spacebar and backspace repeatedly during a gap in your flow, then you actually stop the text from fading. Maybe this isn’t so much of a bug (unsure how they’d fix it unless space didn’t count as a character) and is actually a cheat which I shouldn’t be telling you, but it didn’t take me long to figure out when I was put on edge.
Overall, I think that if you are looking to practise writing creatively, choose this. If you’re struggling with word counts, go to Ilys. But don’t take me word for it, go play! You may as well try to make revision/writing practise as fun as you can.